D.C. City Leaders Bicker Over Bleacher Tickets
Work has begun on the inauguration viewing bleachers outside the White House.
It’s like an SAT question: If everyone wants to watch Barack Obama’s inaugural parade, but there is a finite number of seats, who gets the precious tickets?
Answer: It’s a no-holds-barred throwdown.
At D.C. City Hall, the fighting has begun.
Seems that Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s administration is in charge of building the parade viewing stands in front of the White House--for Obama and the media--and in front of City Hall at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Fenty then will receive 150 tickets to distribute to staff and others.
How the mayor divvies up the tickets is what’s under dispute. As has been the case often during Fenty’s nearly two years in office, the D.C. Council is feeling snubbed. Rumors have circulated among members that Fenty is planning to give the 13 council members no more than 30 tickets in all.
That has not sat well with Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D), who told Inauguration Watch that he will seek a 50-50 split with the mayor.
Nothing doing, said Fenty’s Chief of Staff Carrie Brooks. The mayor has not made a final decision, but executive branch traditionally gets more, she said.*
For City Hall watchers, this is the sort of interplay they’ve become used to between the executive and legislative branches. The council also cried foul when Fenty declined to give them enough tickets to the luxury boxes at the Verizon Center and at Nationals Park. At times, the council has threatened to hold up legislation until the mayor played fair.
“It’s Verizon Center all over again,” one council member griped.
“Some council members are suggesting the tickets have always been split down the middle,” Brooks said. “Not true. It’s pretty standard that the executive gets more.”
Doesn’t sound like the unifying themes on which Obama based his campaign, does it?
By David Nakamura and Nikita Stewart
(* Correction: The initial version of this story misstated the number of tickets the council would receive.)
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